Australia Secure top spot after defeating Bahrain
The Qantas Socceroos progress to the second round of the AFC Asian Cup after winning 1-0
Mile Jedinak-s second goal in as many games ensured Australia progressed to the last eight in the Asian Cup. The 1-0 victory was only just enough to see them top the group after being pushed to the limit by a hard-working solid Bahrain outfit.
Jedinak-s fantastic match winning strike came as half time was approaching and was exactly what the Aussies needed heading into the break. The former Central Coast Mariners midfielder scored the kind of goal that made him famous in the Hyundai A-League and put him in the shop window for an international move that now sees him ply his trade in Turkey.
Having picked up a partial clearance from the Bahrain defence, Jedinak hit a thunderbolt of a half volley that dipped and bounced just in front of the diving ‘keeper Mansoor. The power of the shot and bounce were too much for the ‘keeper to stop and the ball crashed into the back of the net.
His teammates then proceeded to mob Jedinak as if they knew that this goal would be enough to take them through to the next round. The Aussies started off well and a bright opening period saw both Emerton and Cahill go close as they pressed for the goal they needed.
It was Bahrain though, who came closest to breaking the deadlock and the movement of Abdulatif and Rakea was causing a disjointed defence problems all the way through the first half. Jedinak also sent out a couple of long range warning shots and when Kewell had a powerful close-range shot saved, it seemed only a matter of time before Australia took the lead.
Up stepped Jedinak in the 37th minute to oblige with one of his trademark long rangers and put the Aussies within touching distance of the second round of the competition. Cahill had a golden opportunity to end Bahrain-s chances of remaining in the competition but his 52nd minute header was put wide when you-d expect a player of his stature to hit the back of the net.
It didn-t matter at the end of the 90 minutes though and despite Bahrain being a constant threat, Schwarzer was equal to anything they could throw at him. The Qantas Socceroos only just sneaked top spot though after South Korea won 4-1 against India in the final group C match.
The results meant that Australia ended up being one goal better off in the overall goal difference and they should now avoid the tricky Iranians and Japanese until the final.
Australia will now play at 1225 am on the 23rd January against Iraq